Clean Water Act of 1977, 1981, 1987

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Draft year- 1972
Amendment year- 1977, 1981, 1987

Legislation- National

Why was the law needed and what does the law do?
The act established the goals of eliminating releases to water of high amounts of toxic substances, eliminating water pollution, and ensuring that surface waters would meet standards necessary for human sports and recreation. It maintains the goals and standards for U.S water quality and purity. It was developed in 1972 to protect the Nation's water ways and to stop pollution from being directly discharged into open waters. Direct discharges are from sources such as pipes and sewers. A facility that wants to discharge into the nation's waters must obtain a permit before discharging waste. A permit applicant must provide data identifying the types of pollutants present in the facility's discharge. Those who may require a permit include waste water treatment plants. The permit will set the conditions and make limits of what sort of waste and discharge the company may make.

The Goal of the CWA
America was dumping around 7 million tons of toxic waste into its own waters. Less than 1/2 of the U.S. population was being severed sufficient water from the waste water treatment plants. Most of the U.S. water's suffered from the symptoms of pollution like the Cleveland, Ohio Cuyahoga River caught on fire in June 22 1969, the Potomac River was way too dirty for swimming and Lake Erie was dying of massive pollution. The goal of the CWA is to make all of the nation's water fishable and swimmable.

How has the legislation impacted the health of our planet?
The legislation has impacted our planet in a positive way because now oil spills and other pollution in water is being prevented. This helps maintain a healthy environment for the wildlife and animals that live by the waters that are polluted. This also leaves a healthier and more pure water quality for us consumers.

Agency/Group Responsible:
The agency responsible for regulation and enforcement was the EPA.

Success Stories
June 22, 2009 was the 40th anniversary of the last fire on the Cuyahoga River brings up an the story of what occurred before and after the fire. Ed Kelley was there at the inception of the environmental movement as one of the first professionals to work on cleaning up. The Cuyahoga River after its infamous fire in 1969. An employee of the City of Cleveland Division of Water Pollution Control from 1969 to 1976, Kelley remembers the early days and how a group of young engineers and biologists turned around one of the worst environmental issues in the modern age.
"It was this last fire that stimulated environmental action in Cleveland and across the country. I was part of a group of City of Cleveland employees and professional engineers dedicated to cleaning up the river. As early water quality professionals, we developed a remediation program that would assist in reversing the course of the pollution of the Cuyahoga River. I was fresh out of school and working alongside folks like Lamont W. Curtis, Mr. James Shafer, John Moore who would lay the groundwork for a water pollution control program initially implemented by the City of Cleveland." by Ed Kelley